EP268 : Tie One On!
Original series
EP270 : Can't Beat the Heat!
The Ties That Bind
Tournament Finals! Full Battle 6 VS 6!!
First broadcast
Japan October 10, 2002
United States September 20, 2003
English themes
Opening Believe in Me
Japanese themes
Opening Ready Go!
Ending ポケッターリ・モンスターリ
Animation Team Ota
Screenplay 冨岡淳広 Atsuhiro Tomioka
Storyboard 誌村宏明 Hiroaki Shimura
Assistant director 誌村宏明 Hiroaki Shimura
Animation director 宍戸久美子 Kumiko Shishido
No additional credits are available at this time.

The Ties That Bind (Japanese: けっしょうトーナメント!フルバトル6VS6!! Tournament Finals! Full Battle 6 VS 6!!) is the 269th episode of the Pokémon anime. It was first broadcast in Japan on October 10, 2002, and in the United States on September 20, 2003.

Spoiler warning: this article may contain major plot or ending details.


Ash is about to take on his long time rival, Gary Oak, in the next battle of the Johto League Silver Conference, and he's determined to do everything he can to win. He stays up all night researching strategies and trying to learn more about Gary's Pokémon. Gary has a lot of strong Pokémon, and he trains many different types, so Ash has to pick his team carefully. Gary starts out with Nidoqueen, and Ash uses Tauros. Gary wins the first round, but Ash takes the second. It's going to be a very close match! In round three, it's Ash's Heracross versus Gary's Blastoise. Who will win? (To be continued!)


Ash is shocked to learn that his first-round opponent in the Victory Tournament will be against Gary, his long-time rival. After a sharp exchange with Gary, Ash is left enraged by Gary threatening to sweep him at the tournament. That night, back in his suite, Ash rummages through his backpack and shows his friends the smaller white half of the Poké Ball, and he proceeds to tell Misty and Brock the beginning of his and Gary's rivalry. It had been a few days before Ash first left to start his journey as a Pokémon Trainer. Fishing by a stream, he managed to hook a Magikarp, which proceeded to slap him in the face before landing back into the water. Gary, on the other side of the stream, taunted Ash for being unable to name any of Magikarp's attacks, including the Flail that was used on him. The two had liked the stream as a fishing spot, and this caused their rivalry to escalate. When both Ash and Gary caught a bite, both reeled in their lines but discovered that they had both hooked onto the same rusted Poké Ball. After a brief tug-of-war, the Ball broke in two. Though Ash was willing to accept that the "fishing battle" was a draw, Gary had declared it a loss, as "tying with Ash was just as bad as losing", a position that he continued to hold. Ash explains that he has kept his half of the Poké Ball as a good luck charm. He admits that losing to Gary and his Eevee had taught him that he wasn't ready to take him on at the time, but declares that he'll beat Gary. Misty reminds him that the next day is a rest day, with the Victory Tournament starting on the day after, so Brock advises Ash to use tomorrow to prepare his strategy.

The next day, Team Rocket reopens their newly expanded souvenir stand. Though Meowth tells Jessie that business might be slow over the rest day, James is confident that he can drum up some business by holding a one-day sale of limited edition collector's pins. Meanwhile, back in the suite, Misty is surprised to learn that Ash and Brock had buried themselves in books, preparing for Ash's match. Ash, for one, has not slept since last night. Brock is quick to point out that Ash is not as computer-literate as either himself or Misty, but has managed to get a webpage up on Gary, displaying data on ten of his Pokémon. However, the monitor crashes just as he is about to demonstrate his computer skills to Misty, so she suggests they take the opportunity to get Ash off the computer desk for breakfast.

Outside, Ash and his friends continue discussing strategy. Brock notes that Gary has no particular type preference, just like his grandfather, and that he keeps rotating his Pokémon. Ash confirms this and says that he has been that way for as long as he has known him. As Brock reaffirms that his team-building strategy will be crucial, Ash sees a shadow flying overhead. Once again, the Flamethrower greeting is a dead giveaway that it is Charizard, having arrived from the Charicific Valley after Brock made a late-night request to Liza. As Ash is greeting Charizard, Gary appears. After a frank exchange, the two stare each other down until Professor Oak arrives to break the silence, surprising both. Delia also appears, herself and Professor Oak having arrived to watch the Silver Conference live instead of on TV. Oak advises the two to lighten up before moving on to other matters. Having received a lot of new Pokémon data, Professor Oak updates the Pokédexes for both Ash and Gary. Though Misty and Brock are excited about the new Pokédex data and what they can learn from it, Gary stares at his Pokédex intently before leaving. Misty and Brock also remind Ash to prepare their strategy, so they also leave, with Delia offering Ash some encouraging words.

Later that day, Meowth and Jessie congratulate themselves for selling out their merchandise yet again, thanks to the Trainers who did not advance to the Victory Tournament also buying their pins. James, however, is working even harder, as he adjusts his new machines to make 3,000 new commemorative badges just to meet the demand for the next day.

The next day, the Victory Tournament begins in earnest. Macy and Jackson are also in the crowd as the announcer explains the Victory Tournament conditions: a Full Battle with a random selection of battlefields between grass, water, rock, and ice-based fields. In the round's opening match, Harrison easily advances onto the next round when his Sneasel defeats a Machamp. Back in the locker rooms, Ash congratulates Harrison on his victory. Harrison reminds Ash that he will square off against the winner of Ash's upcoming match against Gary. Back on the field, Misty and Brock have already been seated, with Pikachu, Togepi, Politoed, and Psyduck ready to cheer Ash on. However, Gary has also brought his cheerleaders to cheer him on. After the announcer makes a brief note of Gary and Ash's accomplishments, the match begins on the rock field, and Gary is selected to choose his first Pokémon.

Gary leads off with Nidoqueen, while Ash calls on his Tauros. Nidoqueen charges forward with a super-effective Rock Smash that sends rocks flying into the air, damaging the Wild Bull Pokémon. Tauros manages to push through the oncoming rocks and rushes towards Nidoqueen with a Horn Attack. However, Gary orders Nidoqueen to grab Tauros by the horns and she launches a close-range Hyper Beam, easily knocking Tauros out of the match.

Ash sends out Heracross as his second Pokémon, so Gary swaps Nidoqueen out for a Magmar. Gary has Magmar start the battle with Flamethrower, but Heracross evades the attack and throws his opponent into the air with a Fury Attack. Magmar uses the increased altitude to its advantage, landing into its own Fire Blast before ramming straight into Heracross. The flames engulf Heracross, dealing massive damage to him. Adding insult to injury, Magmar also adds a point-blank Flamethrower to the mix to cripple Heracross. Suddenly, Heracross manages to blow the fire away with his wings. He charges towards Magmar with Megahorn, overpowering Magmar's Flamethrower defense, and knocking it out.

Unfazed, Gary sends out Blastoise - the final form of his first partner Pokémon, and the most powerful Pokémon on his team. Heracross starts with a Fury Attack, but Blastoise responds with Hydro Pump. The two attacks prepare to collide as the battle rages on.

Major events

For a list of all major events in the anime, please see the history page.


Pokémon debuts



Pocket Monster TV


Who's That Pokémon?

Who's That Pokémon?: Umbreon (U.S. and international), Tauros (Japan)


  • The episode's English dub title is very similar to that of a future episode.
  • When Ash is looking for his half of the broken Poké Ball, the rubber gloves and the clothesline Delia gave him in the first episode can be seen.
  • Ash's line "I know you are, but what am I?" is a reference to Pee-wee Herman, a character played by Paul Reubens, who would say the same line when someone tried to insult him.
  • The battle between Ash and Gary marks the first and currently only time in the anime where Pikachu isn't in Ash's active party, though he is still present on the sidelines to cheer him on. Ash likely gave his Poké Ball to Professor Oak, at least temporarily, to make this possible. The fact that this occurs means that Pikachu is ineligible to battle, as Ash states in the next episode.
  • During the flashback, Ash is seen wearing a straw hat, which may give the viewer the impression that the fight involving the rusted Poké Ball predates Ash winning his Pokémon League Hat at the raffle mentioned in Primeape Goes Bananas.
  • This episode is featured on Volume 5: Blastoise from VIZ Media's Pokémon All-Stars series.
  • This is the first time Ash's Heracross is seen using a move that is not a Normal-type one.
  • Team Rocket doesn't recite the motto or blast off in this episode.


  • After Ash told Misty and Brock about the broken Poké Ball, he was holding a whole Poké Ball instead of the lower white half that he has.
  • When Ash and his friends are first seen sitting at a table, Ash's hat has its colors reversed; the front is red while the back is white.
  • In one scene, Brock mispronounces Liza's name.
  • In Harrison's battle, his Sneasel knocks out a Machamp, but both the official, the announcer and the Machamp itself, refer to it as a Machoke.
  • Ash sends out his Tauros from a regular Poké Ball instead of a Safari Ball.
  • When Tauros is knocked out by Nidoqueen's Hyper Beam, the announcer says that Nidoqueen defeated Tauros with just one attack. However, this is incorrect, since Tauros was previously hit by Nidoqueen's Rock Smash.
  • When Brock was listing types that would match up well against Heracross, one of the types he mentions is Rock. While this is true for a Bug-type Pokémon, it is not true for Heracross, since its secondary type is Fighting, which is resistant to Rock-type moves.
  • When Magmar pins Heracross against a rock using Fire Blast, Heracross's horn momentarily disappears.
  • When Heracross hits Magmar with Megahorn, Magmar's left foot is gray instead of red.
  • When Blastoise uses Hydro Pump, its lower jaw is blue instead of cream.
  • In the English dub:
    • Heracross's Fury Attack is incorrectly referred to as Fury Swipes. In addition, Heracross cannot legally learn Fury Swipes.
    • The announcer mentions Megahorn as the single most powerful Pokémon attack. However, Fire Blast is equally powerful, and moves such as Explosion are more powerful still. However, it is the most powerful Bug-type attack, not counting Fury Cutter at max power (in the original version, it is correctly stated that Megahorn is the most powerful Bug-type attack).

Dub edits

  • In the English dub, Brock and Misty seem to be aware that Gary's first partner Pokémon was Squirtle, as when Blastoise is sent out, Misty asks, "Wait, isn't that...?". Brock replies, "The same Squirtle Gary originally received from Professor Oak? Yeah, that's the one." This is not the case in the original Japanese version, as Misty was surprised that Gary owned a Blastoise, while Brock pondered whether Gary's Blastoise was in fact his first partner Pokémon fully evolved.
  • In the English dub, Ash says that he has been online all night, while in the Japanese version he says that he was so excited about his upcoming battle that he woke up at 5 a.m.
  • In the Japanese version, Brock tells Ash that battling Gary who has multiple different types of Pokémon will be different than facing Misty or Macy. Macy was not mentioned in the English dub.

In other languages

EP268 : Tie One On!
Original series
EP270 : Can't Beat the Heat!
  This episode article is part of Project Anime, a Bulbapedia project that covers all aspects of the Pokémon anime.